As we work in Disciple Making Movements, it is common for us to think that we need more. We think, “If we only had more money it would be so much easier to do what we are called to do. if we had more workers…we would finally get results,” we tell ourselves. Or, “If we had more training and more understanding…then things would start happening.” We have come to believe that we need more, that we do not have enough to do what God has called us to do to see a movement of Jesus’ disciples start.
Reading this question you might think, “the apostolic leader.” Having a charismatic leader who motivates, trains, and inspires people is definitely helpful. They are not, however, the driving force in movements. The multiplication we see in rapidly multiplying movements is driven by ordinary disciples.
A less dynamic leader, who knows how to train and mobilize every believer will see greater fruit. It’s one of the key characteristics of movements. Every believer makes disciples.
Disciple-making and evangelism are not only the role and responsibility of trained clergy. In their jobs, neighborhoods, and families, lay people share their testimonies, pray for people, and invite them to read and study God’s Word. This leads to movements. This drives disciple-making forward.
Whatever will be will be, the saying goes. That’s not the Gospel. Nor is it the heart of God. Jesus described His purpose on earth by saying “The Son of Man came to seek and save the lost” (Luke 19:10). A sense of urgency about lostness is one of the most common characteristics found in Disciple Making Movement leaders.
Some months ago, I had the privilege of interviewing one of my mentors, Bill Smith. We talked about the issue of lostness.
Hearts Broken For the Lost
Jeremiah cried out, “I am broken by the brokenness of my dear people. I mourn; horror has taken hold of me” (Jer. 8:21).
“Pastor Cindy”…ahh! That had a nice ring to it! Being called pastor somehow set me apart. I was special. When my husband and I first started pastoring, we were quite young…fresh out of Bible college. We served as youth ministers in a church that instructed us to call ourselves “Pastor Todd” and “Pastor Cindy.” Only later I came to understand the danger of titles, and what it did to increase the separation between myself and those I served.
Titles put you on a pedestal. It’s one you will sooner or later fall off of. It may be in a very visible way that hurts many. Or it could be in a hidden way, which hurts you. We all fail to live up to that standard of perfection and holiness. We’re human. The titles of Pastor, Bishop, Apostle, Reverend, sometimes cause more harm than good. This is certainly true when it comes to Disciple Making Movements and releasing the priesthood of all believers.
The world celebrates strong leaders. Watching the news the other night, I heard a poll referenced. It was about two leaders. The poll asked, “Who is the stronger leader?” The show went on to discuss these two leaders; casting the one considered weaker in a negative light. Is strong, decisive leadership what is always needed? Is that how Jesus taught that we should lead?
When Church Planting Movements (CPMs) were first talked about, I read about the characteristics of a movement. One was that they were led by strong, charismatic leaders with apostolic giftings. This is not completely incorrect. Time and wisdom, however, have changed how we think about that.
Let me take this opportunity to wish you a very Merry Christmas! As you celebrate with friends and family and reflect on the Savior’s birth, may your heart be filled with joy and wonder. The miracle of Christmas is good news worth sharing with the world!
“My job is to honestly preach the word, not to hold people accountable,” said the slightly defensive Christian leader to my friend. It is a common perception among us pastors. A hands-off approach lets us off the hook. We say things like; “I will do my part, God will do His.” Or “Everyone has free will. Our job is to give them the Gospel (information), they choose what they want to do with it.”
There is truth to these statements. Where we go wrong is when we label the above as discipleship. Is the idea of “live and let live”, a Biblical approach to discipleship? Is a “you do you” worldview taking precedence over living and ministering like Jesus?
Jesus gave authority and power away before his disciples were fully ready. Do we? Sometimes I am afraid to give away responsibility. What if they mess it up? Most of the time I am slower to give away power and authority than I suspect Jesus would be.
Disciple Making Movements (DMMs) model everything after Jesus. Paul’s a great model too. Today I read Luke 9 in my daily devotions. I got stuck on verse one, “He gave them power and authority…” Then, in verse two, He sent them out to use it, however imperfectly.
“What? Did Jesus teach seven commands? I’ve never seen a list like this in the Bible!” he exclaimed. “I thought Christ came to set us free from the law of sin and death.” This brother thought we were heretical for even using the phrase “the seven commands of Christ” as we trained new believers. I see his point. We certainly don’t want to re-impose an Old Testament system of legalism.
What we do want is to obey the Great Commission. Jesus said, “Teach them to obey all I have commanded you.” (Matt 28:18-20)